It’s exactly what it sounds like plus a few other awesome things. It all started as a hike up a deceptively steep mountain trail late at night. There is something about hiking 8km at 9.30pm that makes you both hate and love life at the same time. It’s a lot of fun, provided it was a planned experience, but a large part of you just wants to get to camp. It’s an experience I highly recommend for any avid hiker at least once in your life. If night hiking is unplanned, however, it sucks. Thankfully, this time it was the former. While I was dragging myself uphill at a cracking pace in the light of my head torch, D’mitry was snug in my backpack as usual, getting as much rest as possible before an intense day of the finest dinosaur adventure photography known to Canada’s expat community.
Upon morning there was more uphill climbing, this time even steeper as we scrambled over rocks and glaciers to the most stunning ridge I might have ever seen. Jagged snowcapped mountains and glacial lakes the colour of blue Gatorade. Personally I’m not into isotonic drinks but these lakes were a comparable shade of blue. All that scenery was fantastic but the real highlight of my day was sliding down a glacier. What began as boot skiing with my incredible talent and sense of balance became a controlled slide on my bum towards the end of my glacial experience. Having fallen off my feet around ten metres before the end of my slide I decided to just keep going, using my feet and hands to control my speed and direction. The result was numb hands/bum, wet shorts and mysterious cuts on my knees. I’m not sure how, though. My knees weren’t involved at all. Glacial water is also brisk and refreshing, as one would expect.
My final discovery of the trip was the meaning of inukshuks. I knew a cairne was a pile of rocks meant as a navigational marker to fellow hikers but I failed to grasp the difference between that and an inukshuk. According to local intel, the purpose of an inukshuk is “because Canadians like piling rocks”. Seems legit. D’mitry approves.
Remember those times when I kept using wrestling bears as an analogy for being awesome? Well I found a D’mitry-sized Canadian bear and it posed with him in the forest because that’s where bears and dinosaurs belong, right? But seriously, it was a fantastic hike and a super awesome waterfall. I climbed up the little pools to the start of the waterfall, out of sight from my friends. They followed me a few minutes later to find me already standing inside the top pool, right next to the spray from the waterfall. I highly recommend splashing about in mountain runoff. In a word, it’s brisk.
Remember how I first found D’mitry? All sad and alone in that mud puddle? I experienced something similar last week. I stepped out of a car into what I thought was solid dried mud. It was in fact ankle-deep sludge mud. One uncomfortable 20 or so metres later, however, I was ankle-deep in awesome lake. The best thing about lakes with mountain backdrops is that they make the greatest locations for dinosaur action shots. D’mitry spent the afternoon soaking up the good life in the sunshine. I spent the afternoon trying to wash mud out of my toes.
Visiting lakes is fun. Visiting lakes that are surrounded by amazing mountains and climbable rocks and steep roads is more fun. Also we found a sign that politely asked us not to drown. Canada. D’mitry was soaking up some sunshine on one of the awesome rocks because skin cancer doesn’t affect you when you are made of plastic. But seriously, slip slop slap. Be sunsmart.
I once ran an activity for kids called moose hunt. It was supposed to be Canadian themed and last for 10-15 minutes so I printed countless little pictures of moose and hid them. One moose was special. He was gold and had “king moose” written beneath his picture. He was called the Spruce Moose and was worth 10 points as opposed to a regular moose which was worth 1 point. Long story short, the activity was a lot of fun and I am now Chief Moose Hunter. I also claim to be pretty good at wrestling paper print-outs of bears but that’s another story.
Earlier this week my moose hunting reached a whole new level of awesome and this time D’mitry was there to witness the greatness. I actually saw part of a moose. Initially I wasn’t sure what part I was seeing considering the moose was in slice form and lying amid various roasted vegetables on my plate. Moose tastes good, by the way. A little later I saw more of that moose, this time in skull and deceptively heavy antler form. I now have a photo of myself with a moose head but considering D’mitry is much more photogenic than me it won’t be making an appearance on this site. Unfortunately the skull and antlers were too big to take any decent photo of D’mitry with the set. Sorry.
Hopefully one day I’ll see a moose that is still alive but for now I’m satisfied in my moose-hunting ability because I sought moose and I found it, even if the word “hunting” isn’t quite as accurate as the badass in me wants it to be.
I know it’s been a rough road without pictures of D’mitry doing awesome things in an awesome new place. After all, this is THE BIGGEST ADVENTURE TO HAPPEN TO ANYONE EVER. It deserves visuals. Well my connectivity issues have been resolved and now we have pictures. Uploadable ones! Also I saw a hummingbird. I thought it was a giant bee until closer inspection. Thought it deserved a mention.
We went to a waterfall and a forest with the coolest moss I’ve ever seen. D’mitry has some serious camouflage skills in these pictures. Spot the dinosaur.
D’mitry also had fun on a rope swing after I completed a high/low ropes instructor course and found out just how dangerous rope swings are.
Rock climbing isn’t really my thing. Nothing wrong with it, I just don’t find it fun. D’mitry disagrees.
There you have it. Stay strong, more photos will follow. Everything is exciting.
The photos are lost. I don’t mean that in the same way that I deliver lost photos, which are just photos of adventures that I post really late, I mean they are actually lost. I cannot connect them to my computer. I now have an alternate way of connecting photos and technology but existing photos are gone. Sorry.
On the bright side, D’mitry’s list of interesting and questionable animals has now increased! Remember beach chickens, Dego the goat, elusive herbivorous fish and lava chickens? We can now add creepy beach pigeons and mysterious beavers to that collection. The beach pigeons found in Hawaii are truly terrifying, mostly because they aren’t afraid to steal your toast. Stealing my toast is one of the worst things you can do to me. I was concerned they might find D’mitry and mistake him for something tastier than toast (what could possibly be better than toast? Even D’mitry knows he’s not that delicious although he is more fun). No one wants the world’s favourite dinosaur stolen by grubby pigeons. Beavers, on the other hand, are not so obnoxious. In my brief time in Canada I have seen far too many chewed stumps to deny the existence of beavers. As such, D’mitry and I embarked on a super important quest to find the mysterious beavers. We beaver hunted for hours in vastly inappropriate footwear (minimally supporting sneakers are a bad choice for long distance walking) yet found no beavers, only munched tree stumps. Apparently beavers are most common at dusk, wish we’d known that sooner…
Regardless, spectacular mountains, huge pine trees and amazing forests are D’mitry’s favourite things things right now, not to mention that waterfall we found. We might just have to find it again in order to retry our photography efforts.
Also, remember that time when I kept using bears in simile? I thought it was hilarious at the time but in reality it was likely only mildly amusing. Well bears actually exist in this country so watch out, my bear stories might actually be real next time. Let’s hope not. Bears and dinosaurs are arch enemies.
Photos would be nice right now and trust me, I have some. D’mitry is looking fabulous, as usual. The only problem is that my camera won’t connect to my computer. Lesson: always check your technology works before leaving home. Anyway, the last few days have been chockablock full of hiking, adventure driving, more hiking and surfing. Surprised by the last one? I’m not in Canada yet.
Hawaii is pretty great. Lots of hiking which is the best thing ever and some fantastic people that have made life fun and also made adventure driving less terrifying. Fun fact: driving on the wrong side of the road isn’t difficult; driving on the wrong side of the lane is.
Also, remember that summer I was determined to become adequate at surfing? How I had a successful surf session once and then failed for the rest of the summer? Well it turns out my efforts were not futile. After a few hours in the Hawaiian waves it turns out I am indeed adequate, perhaps even not bad. Next thing you know I’ll actually be pretty good. Give it some time, just you wait and see. I did, however, sustain a minor injury, just like last time. Instead of getting smashed in the knee with a surfboard I gradually developed a super sore rotator cuff from mystery surf-related causes. I really don’t know why this happened, only that it was something to do with surfing. Although the range of motion in my right arm is average at best right now, there is nothing a little bit of ice cream can’t fix. Problem solved, or at least my happiness is doing well.
D’mitry has posed for artistic shots overlooking spectacular views and narrowly missed a great shot in a 1920s style coffee shop. It was awesome. Hawaii has treated us well for the past five days and we’re sad to leave but Canada calls us. Soon we will take off on a relievingly shorter flight than the one from home to Hawaii and then it’ll be all about moose and maple leaves. Maybe even an over excited Mon who will embarrass D’mitry with enthusiasm. Lucky he can’t run away on his useless little legs.
You know things are getting serious when you say these words to your mother:
“You know how I’m leaving the country? Well, there is a possibility I might not come back.”
You also know your mother is a little bit awesome when she replies with “Duh”.
D’mitry and Mon are leaving in five and half hours. I’ve been counting down the days from 56 by writing it on my fridge amongst all the fun magnets and drawings because I am a teacher and I have whiteboard markers and I must use them. My point is that THE BIGGEST ADVENTURE TO HAPPEN TO ANYONE EVER is happening today and for the foreseeable future. Get excited.
For those who know me well, no I have not finished packing. No, I am not stressed about that in the slightest. I am also not scared by the concept of leaving my home and my family for a long time, or even forever, although I am terrified of mildly offending people with incorrect tipping. Apparently tipping is a thing in Canada. It isn’t in my country but surely I’ll figure it out. Big thanks to everyone I caught up with over the last two weeks, I feel super loved. Like, more loved than the giant toy panda I had as a child that just seemed like it was made for hugging, especially before the age of seven when the panda was actually bigger than me. I digress.
Enjoy the mental image of me stuck on an aeroplane for an unspeakable number of hours. We all know I can’t sit still ever. At least some of us can enjoy it. D’mitry gets to recline in the spacious comfort of my backpack, the cheeky little bastard.